Lip Neutralization 101: What is It, What to Expect & Cost

Lip Neutralization 101: What is It, What to Expect & Cost
Lip Neutralization 101: What is It, What to Expect & Cost

Dark lips can be caused by either:

  • Genetics (for example, in people with melanin-rich skin)
  • By practices & conditions that affect us every day (for example, smoking, illness, medications, etc). 

Whatever the cause, it can be a common source of insecurity for many women. Hence, the rise in popularity of the Lip Neutralization technique.

What Is Lip Neutralization

Lip Neutralization is a lip treatment in which the color of dark and cool-toned lips is evened out and lightened (neutralized). 

This procedure essentially corrects skin undertones and counteracts them with complementary colors.

This is most commonly done using an orange-colored (or other suitable shade based on the color wheel) pigment to color correct both the top and bottom lip. 

The pigment is deposited using a lip tattooing pen that has many small needles. Successful lip neutralization is usually accomplished over the course of multiple sessions. 

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Who Are Good Candidates for Lip Neutralization

Any person that has dark lips can potentially have lip neutralization done. However, there are some cases in which you may not be eligible. 

You will need to let your practitioner know what caused your darkened lips. That is, whether it is genetic, or the result of smoking, an illness, or any medication. 

The cause of your dark lips is important because it will determine how well your lips might hold up to the treatment and ultimately how long the results will last.

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How Long Does Lip Neutralization Last

Generally, lip neutralization will last about 1-2 years. 

However, this may vary depending on how well you take care of your lips after the procedure. And whether you have any conditions or circumstances that can make your lips get darker during that time. 

For example, your lip neutralization results may last less time if you are a regular smoker and continue to smoke regularly after the procedure. 

Or, if you take certain medicines or have a condition that causes darkened lips, your lip neutralization results may not last as long. 

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How Much Does Lip Neutralization Cost

Lip Neutralization may cost anywhere between $400 and $800. However, this may vary depending on:

  • How dark your lips are
  • Location
  • Experience of the practitioner
  • Prep and aftercare 
  • Consultation requirements
  • Follow-up sessions

This average cost also usually does not include tax, and it is not covered by insurance. 

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Lip Neutralization vs Lip Blushing: What’s The Difference

Both are lip tattooing treatments. But Lip Neutralization can only be done on dark lips while Lip blushing can be done on anyone.

Lip Neutralization is done on dark lips to neutralize the color and give the lips an even tone. It requires that the practitioner has an in-depth knowledge of color theory and experience working with melanin-rich skin.

Lip Neutralization is done using a color wheel and colors that can balance out cool, dark tones (usually orange colors). It is usually done as a stand-alone procedure or as a precursor to lip blushing.

Lip Blushing

On the other hand, lip blushing can be done for any person who wants to change the color of their lips. You can choose from a variety of colors based on what color you want your lips to be and your skin tone.

This cannot be done if you have dark lips as the color will not show through, but it can be done after lip neutralization, which will give your lips a neutral color base. 

Related Article – Lip Blushing 101: Cost, What to Expect, Pros & Cons

Who Shouldn’t Get Lip Neutralization  

You may not be a good candidate for lip neutralization if you:

  • Have had Microneedling (or any similar treatment that opens the skin) 2 weeks before & 2 weeks after
  • Under the age of 18
  • Have had Botox or fillers 2-4 weeks before the procedure
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have Diabetes or Glaucoma
  • Have skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, and undiagnosed rashes or blisters on the site that is to be treated
  • Have a history of cold sores (if so, consult with your physician. Many clients avoid cold sore breakouts by taking a Valtrex cycle prior to their appointment)
  • Have allergies to makeup or tattoo ink
  • Have easily triggered post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
  • Have transmittable blood conditions like HIV or Hepatitis
  • Have active skin cancer in the area to be tattooed
  • Have hemophiliac disorders
  • Have healing disorders
  • Are on any kind of blood thinners (consult with your physician)
  • Have uncontrolled high blood pressure or mitral valve disorder

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How Lip Neutralization is Done (What to Expect)

Lip Neutralization is usually and should always be done by a trained professional. They will:

  1. Have an initial consultation session with you to discuss the cause of your dark lips, what outcome you are hoping to achieve from the procedure, expected results and healing experience, and choosing the right neutralizing color.
  1. Your procedure will either be done on the same day after the consultation or you will receive a new appointment date for your procedure to be done. 
  1. On the day of the procedure, your practitioner will first clean your lips to make sure that there is no chance of bacterial and residual products (skincare products or makeup) getting under the skin.
  1. Then they will apply a numbing cream to your lips to help minimize any discomfort that you might feel.
  1. While you wait for the numbing cream to take full effect, they will discuss your desired lip shape and color again with you. 
  1. When your lips are sufficiently numb, they will begin the tattooing process by running the needles in the pen around and across your lips in sections until the pigment has been deposited as uniformly as possible. 
  1. The entire process will take anywhere between 1 and 3 hours. 
  1. Your practitioner will discuss the expected side effects and aftercare with you. 
  1. They will also tell you when you will need to go back for your follow-up and touch-up session. 
  1. Touch-up sessions are usually scheduled 6 weeks apart to make sure that your lips fully heal and that the color diffuses through your skin well before each session. 

Video Showing Lip Color Neutralization Procedure

Tips To Follow Before The Lip Neutralization Procedure

  • DO NOT work out 24 hours before the procedure
  • DO NOT Sun tan or use tanning beds one week prior to the procedure.
  • DO NOT take Aspirin, Niacin, Vitamin E or Advil/Ibuprofen 48 hours before the procedure.
  • STOP Retin A, Alpha Hydroxy Acid at least 6 weeks before the procedure.
  • DO NOT consume alcohol, caffeine, or stimulants 48 hours prior to the procedure.
  • DO NOT take Fish Oil, Primrose Oil, Prenatal Vitamins, Nutritional Shakes, Hair, and Skin Supplements 48 hours prior to the procedure.
  • You must wait at least 1 month after lip fillers before having the procedure. It is possible to have poor color retention in lips that have had injections. Lip fillers can be done 6 weeks after touch-up.
  • You must wait 1 month after lip implants and get written clearance from your surgeon before the procedure.
  • Begin your Antiviral Medication 3 days prior to your procedure. If you are prone to getting cold sores, you will need an antiviral prescription. Physicians usually instruct you to begin taking it 3 days before the permanent makeup procedure, for a 7-10 day period.
  • It is important to note that you may be more sensitive during your menstrual cycle.

Side Effects Immediately After Lip Neutralization

Immediately after the procedure, you may expect minor side effects. However, they will decrease as your healing process progresses. The side effects may include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain or Discomfort
  • Itching

Related Article: Does Vaseline Make Lips Dark or Lighter – What’s the Truth

Healing Stages After Lip Neutralization

Lip Neutralization is a kind of tattooing procedure and will therefore heal in a manner that is similar to lip blushing or lip tattooing. 

Keep in mind that in general, an average person takes four to six days to repair the lips’ outer structure.

But the reconstruction of the inner dermal layers may take up to two to three weeks. It may take up to five to six weeks for the end results after every session.

DayHealing Expectations
1Swelling, sensitivity, and a heavy, thick lipstick appearance will be present on your lips. 
2Your lips will be a little swollen. Some redness may peek through and you may feel some soreness with a slightly metallic taste.
3Your lips will have less swelling. You may see some change in color. You may still feel some soreness and a heated sensation. 
4Lip exfoliation will start and your lips may feel chapped lips. As the epidermis (top layer) peels away, the color of your lips will seem to be even darker under the peeling.
5Your lips will be quite chapped, but the chapping phase of healing will be almost over. As your lips peel, the color will start to lighten.
6By this time, the lips will start to develop a lovely, balanced color.
7-14During this time, lip color will gradually start to lighten as they peel and the dark areas will start to even out. 
14-21Each day, until day 21, a more neutral colour becomes visible ( which is 3 weeks post-procedure).
21-28By this time, healing is usually complete. If this is your first session, your lips should look less dark than before the procedure and will have a more even and neutral tone. You may still have some dark patches that will require touch-ups. 
28-42From the time your lips are healed to your next touch-up session (about 6 weeks or 40 days after the first session), the new color of your lips should have set and your practitioner will be able to see where needs more attention and how well the color has diffused under your skin. 
Healing Stages After Lip Neutralization

Lip Neutralization Aftercare Tips

Day 1

  • To prevent severe scabbing, it is crucial to remove the lymph from the skin’s surface.
  • After the treatment, every 30 minutes until sleep, wipe the lips with a moist cotton swab (using clean, bottled water).
  • If the lips still have some dry lymph before going to bed, gently wash them with lukewarm water to remove the lymph, then pat them dry and apply your healing ointment. 
  • After the operation, wait an hour before eating or drinking.

Day 2

  • Do not put ice directly on your lips. 
  • Keep your lips hydrated and moisturized. 

During the First Week

  • Apply your prescribed ointment as long as the skin is still scabbed and even after. The ointment will help your skin regenerate faster and better.
  • Drink all liquids with a straw until all scabbing has naturally fallen off.
  • Do not use whitening or peroxide toothpaste. 
  • Cut food into small bites. Do not bite into foods. 
  • To avoid infection, do NOT kiss until scabs have completely come off.
  • No oral sexual activity during healing.
  • Do not use makeup, cosmetic products or any cream in the area (except for any prescribed healing cream).
  • No Sauna, pool, Beach, sunbathing.
  • Avoid facial treatment that involves Massage and steaming.
  • Avoid touching the treated area.
  • DO NOT PEEL the scabs at all, you may cause scarring if otherwise.
  • Avoid drinking liquor.
  • Avoid excessive sweating.
  • Avoid smoking as this alters the color of the pigment.
  • Herpes Simplex. People who get fever blisters / cold sores may experience an outbreak after lip procedures. An antiviral prescription can be taken as prescribed by a doctor.

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